Free, romantic, and individualistic, Britain’s self-image in the eighteenth century constructs itself in opposition to the dominant power of a southern European aesthetics. Offering a fresh understanding of how the British intelligentsia created a ‘Northern’ aesthetics to challenge the European yoke, this book explores the roots of British Romanticism and a newly created past. Literature, the arts, architecture, and gardening all contributed to the creation of this national, ‘enlightened’, Northern cultural environment with its emphasis on a home-grown legal tradition, on a heroic Celtic past, and on the imagined democracy of King Arthur and his Roundtable of Knights as a prophetic precursor of Constitutional Monarchy. Set against the European Grand Tour, the British turned to the Domestic, Picturesque Anti-Grand-Tour, and alongside a classical literary heritage championed British authors and British empiricism, against continental religion and superstitions that sanctioned an authoritarian politics that the Gothic Novel dismantles. However, if empiricism and common law were vital to this emerging tradition, so too was the other driving force of Britain’s medieval inheritance, the fantasy world of mythic heroes and a celebration of what would come to be known as the ‘fairy way of writing’. Literature, the arts, religion and politics, architecture, travel-writing, garden aesthetics, and their imagined geography, collaborated to create a national, even though not homogeneous, state, a fact underlined by the creation of the first literary 'university' canon of ‘English’ authors (T. Warton 1774). The autochthonous tradition of the island was backed up by resorting to the ‘fairy way of writing’ connected to the chthonic Celtic past of England and its affective and powerful folklore-emblem of King Arthur and its self-evident proxemic democracy of the Roundtable of the Knights. This was to be iconically translated into the visual rhetoric of ‘ha-ha’ freedom of the English garden aesthetics, and into the defence of polytheism and magic against monotheism, all symbols of a democracy-model over Southern authoritarianism, elements that became the ethical cyphers of the Constitutional Monarchy.
|Titolo:||The Invention of Northern Aesthetics in 18th-Century English Literature, 2nd ed., paperback, Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle, 2021. ISBN (10): 1-5275-7093-2; (13): 978-1-5275-7093-1.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.01 Monografia o trattato scientifico|
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